Postmedia News, “Cronuts and Selfies and Twerking Define the Year in Words”

December 21, 2013

Misty Harris, “Cronuts and Selfies and Twerking Define the Year in Words” (Postmedia News, Dec. 21, 2013)

You might call the Word of the Year language’s annual “selfie” — which, incidentally, was Oxford Dictionaries’ pick for the 2013 honour. It’s the word or phrase that best mirrors the Zeitgeist, reflecting back to us the climate of a given year with brevity and imagination.

By early 2014, lexicographers, media outlets and professional wordsmiths alike will have revealed their choices, which are certain to vary based on the lens through which they view pop culture. There are, however, some clear front runners likely to make most lists — and whether or not you recognize them might say something about your own ability to take the pulse of a nation.

“Lean In,” for instance, was unavoidable this year thanks to the runaway success of the eponymously named book about women in the workplace.

“There’s a whole social message built into that two-word phrase,” said Benjamin Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee. “And it’s one where you can really say that in 2013, it came to prominence in a new way.”

Read the rest here. (Related Wall Street Journal column)

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